July 27, 2018

"The utopian feminists are also eugenicists and anti-Semites; the men who dream of a perfect world where same-sex attraction is privileged also unconsciously mimic..."

"... the hierarchy of patriarchy, putting effeminate or cross-dressing 'Uranians' at the bottom of their ladder. The socialists are also sexists, and the far-seeing anarchists are also muddle-headed, mixed-up mystics."

Writes Adam Gopnik in "What Can We Learn from Utopians of the Past?
Four nineteenth-century authors offered blueprints for a better world—but their progressive visions had a dark side"
(a New Yorker article about the new book “The Last Utopians: Four Late Nineteenth-Century Visionaries and Their Legacy” by Michael Robertson).
Edward Bellamy is the first of Robertson’s nineteenth-century utopians. When his blandly written book “Looking Backward” appeared, in 1888, it created a now puzzling craze both in his native America and in England. Bellamy’s hero falls asleep in 1887—bizarrely, he’s been entombed in a specially built cell designed to help cure his insomnia—and wakes up in 2000. Instead of immediately rushing off to see “Mission: Impossible 2,” though, he enters a world of communistic order. As Robertson rightly sees, Bellamy offers a nightmarish vision of a hyper-regimented society in which everyone works for the government and retires at forty-five, and where the most fun you can have is to go shopping by picking out goods from a catalogue, ordering them from big depots via pneumatic tube, and then having them delivered at home. Where Wells’s “The Time Machine,” which came out not long after, gave us pale Eloi and proletarian Morlocks, Bellamy was chiefly prescient about Amazon Prime....

As Bellamy’s book progresses, power, brutality, and the capacity to dominate become all that matters. Rules are made and harshly enforced. Robertson chides Bellamy for being inconsistently feminist, which is true, but what is chilling in Bellamy is how much of the totalitarian imagination is already in place in his work, and how alluring it can seem. It’s the same phenomenon that we find in the Athenian intellectual’s idealization of Sparta: intellectuals always dream of a closed society even though they themselves can exist only in an open one....
Much more at the link. Gopnik complains about Robertson's "too facile identification of utopianism with 'progressive' causes" — "only left-wing utopias are recognized."

By the way, I learned from Gopnik that the word "dystopia" was first used by John Stuart Mill (in 1868). But when did that word catch on? I remember being in a conversation in the mid-80s with professors (and their spouses) where we were talking about science-fiction books and one of the male spouses (mine, actually) used the word "dystopia," and one of the professors (an unusually intelligent person) said he thought that was the condition where male genitalia grew inside the body. What was he thinking of? Ectopia? Or was that some weird humor? If the latter, it's not evidence that the word "dystopia" has caught on only fairly recently. I remember being surprised that this person didn't know the word, but over the years, I've leaned more in the direction of thinking he was pulling our undescended leg.

Here's the John Stuart Mill quote: "It is, perhaps, too complimentary to call them Utopians, they ought rather to be called dys-topians, or caco-topians. What is commonly called Utopian is something too good to be practicable; but what they appear to favour is too bad to be practicable."

To fussily correct the New Yorker — and only because of its longstanding reputation for fact-checking — Mill said "dystopian" (the adjective, not the noun "dystopia"). That's easily checked in the OED, where I learned that "dystopia" is first recorded in 1952:
1952 G. Negley & J. N. Patrick Quest for Utopia xvii. 298 The Mundus Alter et Idem [of Joseph Hall] is..the opposite of eutopia, the ideal society: it is a dystopia, if it is permissible to coin a word.
Mill also said "caco-topians," and the noun form of that was used in 1818 by Jeremy Bentham: "As a match for Utopia (or the imagined seat of the best government), suppose a Cacotopia (or the imagined seat of the worst government) discovered and described."

I'm seeing one and only one appearance of "cacotopia" in the archive at The New Yorker, in "With 'Black Mirror,' Our Dystopia Gets the Television Show It Deserves" by Troy Patterson (January 2018):
Cacotopia is a synonym for dystopia coined, in the eighteenth century, from the Greek kak√≥s, meaning “bad.” It shares that root with kakistocracy, a word that denotes government by the worst persons, and which therefore has gained unprecedented prominence in the past year. Anthony Burgess, discussing “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” favored the term on account of its gagging acrid sound: “I prefer to call Orwell’s imaginary society a cacotopia—on the lines of cacophony or cacodemon. It sounds worse.” Some academics differentiate between dystopian fictions as those that primarily contend with political oppression and cacotopian ones as those that foreground moral decline, and the distinction has its uses.

62 comments:

Achilles said...

Utopia for leftists always involves telling people what to do.

They never actually do anything or help anyone but themselves.

J. E. Malthaus said...

A Clockwork Feminism.

-LWL

mezzrow said...

I've heard it as a Kakistocracy rather than a Cacotopia. The etimology still goes to the same place.

Confused said...

How dreary to read and think about interesting writers from the past and then chide them for being insufficiently feminist. As if anyone truly interesting from the past would be so small-minded as to be perfect according to today's left-wing standards.

Rob said...

I love that Robertson felt obliged by the dictates of political correctness to include a gay and a feminist utopian in his book. (Gopnik wrires, “The last two of Robertson’s four utopians are chosen, one feels, not because of their historical impact but because of their alignment with contemporary preoccupations.”) Oh, Academia, what have you done to yourself?

Bob Boyd said...

Washington is more of a Cacatopia - government by shitty people.

PM said...

It's not a NYer article unless it has the word "Trump" in it.

Will Cate said...

It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.

traditionalguy said...

What do they call government by the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank.I know what President Jackson called it.

Michael K said...

My surgery professor, when talking about Euthanasia, coined the term "Cacothanasia as a word for a miserable death.

He also practiced some passive Euthanasia by omitting some drugs when end stage cancer patients were admitted to the hospital. For example, he would put stage IV breast cancer patients on steroids to induce a bit of steroid induced euphoria, then omit the steroids when they were unable to manage at home. The result was a sudden death from adrenal insufficiency. The oral steroids had suppressed their adrenals.

William said...

I read the article. Bellamy was the only writer I had heard of and whose book I had actually read. The only part of Bellamy's vision of the future that I can remember is that in the future all stores would have uniform awnings so that on rainy days you didn't need an umbrella. I suppose that idea is practicable. So that's one.........Many years ago I read Edmund Wilson's To The Finland Station. In that book Wilson presented a detailed account of the lives and ideas of various 19th century crackpots and their struggles to write the blueprint for the perfect society. All those heroic struggles came to fruition when Lenin boarded the train that took him to St Petersburg, and the inchoate dreams of the downtrodden were finally realized. Wilson's book was highly praised and he was considered to be one of the preeminent intellectuals of his era. In Wilson's defense it must be noted that he was a heavy drinker and occasionally beat his wife, Mary McCarthy.

buwaya said...

"Earthly Powers" is Burgess' best, and set me on a series of thoughts about how human culture is shaped. Or designed. He may (may) have been merely fantasizing about demonic influence, but its worth taking seriously. I do.

I think that, ultimately, Burgess did take it seriously. The influence of evil is in thoughts, memes, worldviews, and in the mysterious processes by which they become popular and fade away.

As with these "utopians". All such are ab initio inhuman in some obvious way.

Bay Area Guy said...

Utopians generally end up becoming Communists, and we've already seen that movie in the bloody 20th Century.

tim maguire said...

How is it possible that none of these supposedly smart people perfectly anticipated the values of today's progressive? (By which I mean, of course, literally today.)

Were they really as smart as we think they were? Or were they just bad people?

Seeing Red said...

Dream of Utopia, wake up Lord of the Flies.

See Venezuela.

Fernandinande said...

That's easily checked in the OED, where I learned that "dystopia" is first recorded in 1952:

I often get the impression that the OED is rather inaccurate.

dystopia (n.)
"imaginary bad place," 1868, apparently coined by J.S. Mill ("Hansard Commons"), from Greek dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" (see dys-) + utopia (q.v.). Related: Dystopian.

Which (almost) matches ngram.

William said...

The term cacatopia occurs to me. In the prison camps at Andersonville, the Union prisoners would sift through the dysentery to find the large chunks and then eat them. Such prisoners who were able to look past their petit bourgeois concerns and focus on the larger goal of not starving to death were able to survive their confinement. Every discussion of utopia should include a section on the Andersonville prisoners and how they were able to reconcile their ideals with the practical measures needed for survival in a cacatopian society. .......Apologies if you read this over breakfast.

Earnest Prole said...

The fact that early progressives were authoritarian racists was detailed ten years ago in Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, but since he’s a conservative, liberals refused to believe it.

tcrosse said...

The problem with Utopias is there's always somebody who won't play along. Even God had that problem with Adam and Eve, etc. etc.

rcocean said...

Karl Marx was an antisemite. There's another Utopian.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Althouse, you're a Monkees fan right? You won't like this then. I would post to a cafe but don't see one...


http://www.crazydaysandnights.net/2018/07/blind-item-7-reader-blind-item_27.html?m=1


Unknown said...

Over two hundred years ago, through observation of the French Revolution, we learned that attempting to build paradise on earth only unleashes hell. Or as a recent meme put it "Totalitarianism -- just one more execution away from Utopia." Edmund Burke ought to be mandatory reading in universities, if not high schools.

Owen said...

I first encountered "dystopia" in my freshman seminar led by Prof. John Price, fall 1969. We struggled through Plato, Aristotle, More (obviously), Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, other greats. I think he finished us off with some Marx or Marcuse.

This was long before William Gibson but independently I had become acquainted with E.M. Forster ("The Machine Stops") and --marvelous-- Karel Capek's "Rossum's Universal Robots."

Owen said...

Charles Kramer: what you said about Edmund Burke.

Ambrose said...

I remember reading all the dystopian books in high school English in the 1970s. We used the term - and I believe it was common and not just us - "negative utopia." I first heard the term dystopia years later.

Yancey Ward said...

You will be a productive, obedient member of our Utopia or else. That is what it always reduces to in the end.

Fernandinande said...

1892 dystopia.

cubanbob said...

Utopians always swear it has never been implemented correctly but trust us, this time we will get it right.

Ann Althouse said...

"I often get the impression that the OED is rather inaccurate. dystopia (n.)
"imaginary bad place," 1868, apparently coined by J.S. Mill ("Hansard Commons"), from Greek dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" (see dys-) + utopia (q.v.). Related: Dystopian."

But I showed you the actual JS Mill quote, which uses the adjective form, "dystopian." Why are you believing what you found and not the actual quote, which I am showing you?

buwaya said...

Also read Capek's "War with the Newts".

Intended as satire vs both Fascists and Communists, it works superbly, still, as a satire of Islamic expansion and PC. Or whomever uses similar rhetoric.

The newts use victimology and turn human virtues, or fantasies about virtue, against humanity, in a war of extermination.

Ann Althouse said...

"Fernandistein said...
1892 dystopia."

So... my professor friend was right (AND not a comedian).

pfennig said...

Interesting how Margaret Sanger gets a pass but Laura Ingalls Wilder doesn't.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...By the way, I learned from Gopnik that the word "dystopia" was first used by John Stuart Mill (in 1868). But when did that word catch on?

Your Prof. friend wasn't super out of touch:

Google Books Ngram Viewer: dystopia

HoodlumDoodlum said...

["Dystopian" is even more rare until the 1980s btw]

JohnAnnArbor said...

HG Wells went down the utopia road a few times.

It seems a fundamentally unrealistic view of human nature is what causes that.

Roger Sweeny said...

The problem with making beauty a standard for utopia is that standards of beauty differ. Bellamy's utopia is filled with music that is more like muzak. If you wanted to hear Jimi Hendrix--or if you were Jimi Hendrix!--you would be an enemy of the people.

On the other hand, if the Commisariat of People's Music were run by sophisticated music scholars of 1950, everyone would have to listen to 12-tone music, an intellectually interesting and (almost always) aurally ugly way of making music.

T.Aq.Mc. said...

Just noting the one needs to be a bit cautious using Google ngrams. While there are a number of references to dystopia in the late 1800's they seem generally to relate to medical conditions rather than the subject at hand.

Owen said...

Buwaya: thanks for the tip ("War With The Newts."). Also: extra credit for using "whomever" in what IMHO is the proper way. A losing battle these days.

If I were running things I would make everybody read, at ages 8-18, a BOATLOAD of these cautionary and speculative works. At that age we aren't ready, and don't need, a lot of abstract argument on political theory. But we are ready, and do need, some memorable paradigms of how things might be arranged better --or, mostly, worse. Those forms should be drawn well enough that they haunt and inspire us in later years.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

William,

If Bellamy was the only one of these writers you'd heard of, you've lived a charmed life. It was impossible even 34 years ago (when I did it) to escape high school without reading about Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Morris is a tad more specialized, because high schools don't bother nowadays with anything so arcane as major 19th-c. artists, but all the same you can't help tripping over him, in the art section of a bookstore if nowhere else. Carpenter was the only name new to me, and even there I fancy I've heard of his Uranians before now.

Gopnik screws up all over the place. In the graf Ann quotes, he associates Gilman and anti-Semitism, but when you turn to his article, the only utopian anti-Semite on his list is ... Hitler. OK, Adam, we'll concede that Hitler was actually an anti-Semite. And that Pol Pot had it in for people who wore glasses and liked to live in cities. And that Stalin and Mao thought all those peasants were just too fat, and moved speedily to correct the situation.

But where he really loses me is in his gripe that the book contains only "progressive" utopias, not "reactionary" ones. Well, now, what's a "reactionary" utopia? Gopnik contrasts "socialist" utopias with "laissez-faire" ones. He cites Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein for the latter. Heinlein (I'm assuming he means Starship Troopers, which I haven't read) may well be an example to his point, because I have read Friday and Farnham's Freehold, the latter of which would certainly curl his hair. Rand (I'm assuming he means Atlas Shrugged, which I have also read) is another matter. At the very last page of the book, there is a "utopia" -- consisting of a few hundred men and women, perhaps twenty of whose names we know, living under an artificially disguised bit of sky in a valley in Colorado. The surrounding dystopia is literally the entire freakin' rest of the planet. The implication, sure, is that bottom has been reached, and from now on things can only get better. But she doesn't show us that part.

Atlas Shrugged is a dystopia if it's anything. And one that is, I have to say, uncannily accurate in some respects.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

And then he takes on Chesterton, as an example of the "backward-looking" "reactionary imagination." The Napoleon of Notting Hill, Gopnik writes, takes Morris's "medieval ideal" in "a right-leaning direction." This is purest, unadulterated BS. Chesterton was only "right-leaning" if (1) anything not socialist or cosmopolitan or otherwise tending towards a World State is necessarily "right-leaning"; or (2) anything Catholic, ditto (though as a fact Napoleon was written a good 15 years before Chesterton became a Catholic).

Chesterton was a radical Syndicalist, a defender of trade unions, a champion of the poor in the only sense that is without condescension, that of allowing them to do what they always have done. I suppose he loses Gopnik Brownie points for thinking that poor people, like everyone else, should live where they want, eat and drink what they want, think what they want. He skewers stuff like the "Feeble-Minded Bill" and the "Inebriate Bill" so gleefully that you nearly miss the rage. Hell, the man wrote a book titled Eugenics and Other Evils, which alone ought to put him right off Gopnik's list -- but, then, I suspect the list mostly preceded the reading.

Truth be told, Chesterton is in this essay only because in Napoleon (and everywhere else, really), he championed small nations -- the smaller the better -- and we can't have that, can we? Not with our precious EU at stake. Me, I'm with Chesterton: Give me small nations, the smaller the better. George Will once wrote an article beginning "Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." Chesterton would disagree: He was a poet, and he envisioned a world where every valley would have its own distinctive cheese. On coming to a village called Stilton, and finding that they no longer made Stilton there, he wrote a sonnet, beginning "Stilton, thou should'st be living at this hour."

Anyway, practically all of Chesterton's novels/romances are utopias in this vein. I particularly recommend The Flying Inn for mixing vegetarianism, teetotalism, and Islam, but The Return of Don Quixote, Tales of the Long Bow, The Ball and the Cross, and Manalive! are all good.

Tina Trent said...

That isn't in any way an accurate description of Bellamy's book. The vision that made Bellamy a cult figure was the dream of automation enabling people to escape backbreaking labor and spend their time studying literature, learning musical instruments, and other aesthetic pursuits. He was a proto-Fabian socialist.

The curious emphasis on pneumatic tubes in the book arose from the practical preoccupation of the age to improve transportation for two reasons: to move food products into rapidly growing urban areas and to bring cultural resources to rural ones -- especially books, which were luxury items.

The world Bellamy imagined was collective and centrally controlled, but the effect -- from the perspective of his contemporary audience, was the freeing of individuals from isolated lives of backbreaking labor. He envisioned more social mobility. American socialism then was a movement of farmers and factory workers, mostly farmers seeking to creative farm collectives to leverage trade conditions to improve their lots. Few of them would identify socialist if they woke up in this world. That is the way to understand the book. It was by far the most popular book of its age.

I'm not endorsing fabian socialism or Bellamy. I'm endorsing Gopnik actually knowing something about something before writing about it.

buwaya said...

"high schools don't bother nowadays with anything so arcane as major 19th-c. artists"

Nor with major 20th century artists.

Tolkien wrote up the closest approximation of a reactionary utopia, the Shire.
But like every true reactionary Tolkiens little world is not some all-powerful thing, but a fragile ideal (though deceptively prosaic) bubble, a sliver of serendipity in a dangerous, unstable world.

And one that can only be maintained by powerful external guardians that will probably not benefit from its bucolic routine.

Conservatives and reactionaries are realists.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

buwaya,

Thanks for reminding me of the Shire. But, again, what's "reactionary" about it? Only that it's stayed as it has for heaven knows how long, until Saruman swoops in and enacts his Instant Industrial Revolution, with a side order of people to catch all the "hoarders" and "wreckers"? You might call it "reactionary" in regards to the Industrial Revolution, but in LOTR it both precedes and follows it.

Tina Trent said...

@Michelle and @William: what do they teach those poor magazine writers these days?

The only thing right-leaning about Chesterton was Chesterton himself, on his cane: he was often inebriated, though he did not beat his wife.

Happily he was not married to Mary McCarthy. Talk about dystopia.

derek said...

You would think these over educated twits would know something. Utopia doesn't exist, and the striving for it has always led to oppression and totalitarianism, and eventually as it fell apart, societal collapse.

That was the point of these books and stories. What sounds wonderful in practice is awful. There is never any limit to the idea except hard and costly consequences. They all depend on everyone going along; the consequence for opposition or even questioning is usually death.

buwaya said...

"But, again, what's "reactionary" about it? "

It is that ideal of the bucolic rurality governed by custom that Tolkien longed for.
A medieval vision in fact, of a comfortably settled peasantry and an affable gentry.

The Shire was not in existence for some long period, in the context of Tolkienian time. It was formed in the Third Age by the migration of hobbit tribes (Gollum was a leftover of a distant hobbit population of a millennium earlier). It is a bubble of Tolkiens ideal, fragile and temporary.

hstad said...

Achilles said...Utopia for leftists always involves telling people what to do.7/27/18, 9:57 AM

I agree 100% and Jonah Goldberg states it best:

"Fascist [Marxist] movements are implicitly utopian because they—like communist and heretical Christian movements—assume that with just the right arrangement of policies, all contradictions can be rectified. This is a political siren song; life can never be made perfect, because man is imperfect. (Goldberg 130)" - Goldberg, Jonah Liberal Fascism. New York: Doubleday, 2007

n.n said...

Anti-Semites, maybe. There is a high correlation between female chauvinists and diversitists.

Eugenicist? Selective-child under the Planned Parenthood protocol is well documented despite the veil of privacy.

Sexists, they are, by definition sex chauvinists, but it is less about sex than about leverage over competing males, females, and their Posterity.

Mystics, certainly. The Pro-Choice Church, progressive liberal sects, receive their instruction from Stork at the Twilight fringe.

It's not the patriarchy. It's not the matriarchy. Both men and women honor the sons and daughters. It's the oligarchy and progression to minority utopias.

Sebastian said...

Writes Adam Gopnik in "What Can We Learn from Utopians of the Past?"

Who only gestures toward learning that "The sensible lesson one might draw from this is that the human condition is one in which the distribution of bad and good is forever in flux, and so any blueprint of perfection is doomed to failure."

The more pertinent lesson one might draw is that all leftist utopianism leads inexorably to brutal oppression. As corollaries, one might learn that progressivism demands coercion, that the New Man does not arise of his own free will, that the Anointed always know better, that promises of ultimate freedom necessarily result in new forms of slavery.

But as the author of the book under review illustrates, progs never draw the lesson that the problem is inherent in progressivism. Why? Gopnik may recoil, but the really real lesson is that progs like the coercion, they want the control, costs and victims be damned. Totalitarians are cool with totality. It's a feature, not a bug. Strictly speaking, then, for true progs, like the author, there is nothing to be learned, except that the march toward the ultimate goal must continue, no matter what, since nothing matters more.

To be fair to Gopnik, he inches toward insight: "As Bellamy’s book progresses, power, brutality, and the capacity to dominate become all that matters. Rules are made and harshly enforced. Robertson chides Bellamy for being inconsistently feminist, which is true, but what is chilling in Bellamy is how much of the totalitarian imagination is already in place in his work, and how alluring it can seem."

Fernandinande said...

Fun fact - Bellamy's cousin Bellamy invented the Pledge of Allegiance .

Tina Trent said...
their time studying literature, learning musical instruments, and other aesthetic pursuits.


That sounds like one of Obama's spiels for Obamacare.

He was a proto-Fabian socialist.

"What do we want?"
"Democratic Socialism!"

"When do we want it?"
"As soon as is reasonably possible, barring unforeseen circumstances!"

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Tina Trent,

The vision that made Bellamy a cult figure was the dream of automation enabling people to escape backbreaking labor and spend their time studying literature, learning musical instruments, and other aesthetic pursuits.

Whereas in practice (so far, anyway) we get the benefits of automation, but the backbreaking labor is always still there. No one seems to break through to, say, Asimov's Spacer societies, where robots literally do all the work, and humans do whatever they like. At the moment a roboticized job is still "one a human once had." A loss.

Wells, at least, foresaw the nastier side of this in The Time Machine. It wasn't just that the Morlocks hated the Eloi and feasted on their flesh; it was that the Eloi themselves were such a damned disappointment. Asimov's Spacers at least make a pretense of aesthetic creation; Wells's Eloi just sit around and look pretty.

buwaya said...

"No one seems to break through to, say, Asimov's Spacer societies, where robots literally do all the work, and humans do whatever they like."

Have a look at John C Wrights' "Golden Age" series.
A semi-post-human world, where tech does the work, and humans do as they will, to the degree they can. For better or worse.

And of course Iain Banks "Culture" series, where AI's do whatever needs doing, and indeed rule over all. Humans (and other similar beings) are indulged pets if that.

There you have two authors of highly divergent personal ideologies, which do not actually intrude into their fiction.

Richard Dolan said...

How timely. An editorial in today's WSJ discussions 'dystopian predictions' in connection with it calls the Endangered Species Scare.

dbzdak said...

Isn't "dystopians" in the Mill quote a noun, though, not an adjective. Does't it refer to the people who accept a certain view? If I say "Utilitarians believe in striving for the greatest good for the greatest number", isn't "Utilitarians" a noun?

Of course "Utilitarian" can also be an adjective. And I don't mean to suggest that Mill should be credited with coining "dystopia". Just wondering about that particular Mill quote.

Tina Trent said...

@ Michelle: The utopia/dystopia we deserve, and appear to be getting, is Brave New World. So persuasive was Huxley's vision that he himself succumbed to it, spending the final years of his life disordering his senses with drugs and urging others to do so until he thankfully grew so incoherent that only the similarly disordered could perceive his meaning anymore, as it were.

I can't think of a better object lesson in the ironic power of imagination to seduce reason.

Poor Bellamy: the man who longed for a world of hydraulic tubes. I study the Ruskinite colonies. Imagine deciding to try to build a society based on John Ruskin's ideas. And then going to do it in a turpentine camp in frontier Florida, a swamp in southern Georgia, and a cave in Tennessee.

You have to give them credit for insisting on the non-optional propriety of long woolen underwear.

It saved them from malaria in Florida, at least. They were deeply inspired by Bellamy and theosophism. In one attic room in Florida they would use a ouiji board to try to contact Karl Marx and Jesus, while outside, the alligators and mosquitoes waited to eat them.

Sammy Finkelman said...

>> Where Wells’s “The Time Machine,” which came out not long after, gave us pale Eloi and proletarian Morlocks, Bellamy was chiefly prescient about Amazon Prime....

That didn't exist, I think, in the year 2000, only amazon. Annd eBay.

that's amybe alsmo more like Google catalogs

Google hsd that for awhile.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Catalogs

In the year 2011.

PatHMV said...

The word the unusually intelligent professor was looking for was dysmorphia, I suspect. It's no longer considered an appropriate term, it appears.

MadTownGuy said...

Utopia (also said to have been coined by Thomas More) is not 'a good place' which would be 'Eutopia,' but 'no place' correctly transliterated as 'outopia.'

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

would living in a dystopia produce dysthymia?
Or do the dysthymic foster that environment?

Kirk Parker said...

MadTownGuy,

Actually it's ambiguous which of the two Greek words 'utopia' is borrowed from, which pun is sort of the point.

(I'm also surprised no one haa referenced Samuel Butler's _Erewhon_, which title comes down firmly on one side of that ambiguity.)

MadTownGuy said...

I like the ambiguity. Sort of like saying "a good place in nowheresville."

Daniel Jackson said...

"Bellamy offers a nightmarish vision of a hyper-regimented society in which everyone works for the government and retires at forty-five, and where the most fun you can have is to go shopping by picking out goods from a catalogue, ordering them from big depots via pneumatic tube, and then having them delivered at home."

France!